It was late October and I awoke at noon in the bed of a bartender with whom I had been flirting as some sort of idle pastime, but who, once our lips struggled through an awkward and passionless kiss, fell from the queue and vanished, like snowflakes melting into a city street. I passed out next to him just before sunrise in all of my clothes and when I woke to the piercing midday sun breaking through the curtainless windows, I immediately realized I was five hours late for work. While showing up late for the corporate job I loathed so vehemently wasn’t an anomalous occurrence, five hours was egregious, and not sending an email with a bullshit appointment or family emergency before going back to sleep was unprecedented. It was Wednesday and on that Thursday I was to fly to DC for the weekend to see my friends and the one boy who had my attentions rapt of late. Despite the fact that we had only been talking across four hundred miles for a few weeks, even the lightly playful flirtations with that British bartender and his horrid teeth left a small tinge of guilt in my mouth and gut for this boy. But things with him had only just begun and the witty bartender easily dissolved into anticipation for my trip to see the DC poet. Groggily walking to my car in last night’s outfit through the unseasonably warm sun I felt a slow panic rising in my chest. Were they going to fire me for this? I couldn’t very well roll in at two p.m. on Wednesday with no excuse then take off Thursday and Friday as well. Clearly the only option was to make up a family emergency, change my plane ticket, and fly out a day early. My addiction to reckless spontaneity was instantly piqued at this thought and I began to grind the wheels of my next harebrained scheme through my infinitely careless mind.

Opening the door to my apartment I called the only person I could ever call for advice on wildly irresponsible decision making: Keats. The only friend of mine that can truly empathize with the inability to make decisions like a responsible adult, Keats has always been there to help me come up with an excuse to needlessly miss two days of work and waste a couple hundred bucks for a few extra hours someplace with nary a judgmental comment. This day was no different and Keats successfully coached me through two hours of planning, packing, and pacing until I made my way to the airport with a half-burnt plan and a credit card waiting to be charred.

Sifting through the crowds at the airport excited anticipation whirred in me like music; my limbs bouncing almost imperceptibly as I nervously planned my attempt to get the ticket change fee waived. A large busty blonde woman with a scowl carved into her hard, textured face groaned for the next person in line to step forward and I allowed the gentleman behind me to go ahead. I made my way down the counter to a light-skinned black man who looked like a friendly bus driver from a seventies sitcom. I cheerfully greeted and chatted with the amicable Earl as his fingers busily typed away and he listed my options to get to DC that day. Despite my sweetest efforts and sincerest pleas, the change would cost two-hundred and twenty-five dollars and I would be on standby for each of the four flights leaving the rest of the day. Considering that reckless spontaneity was the name of this game I handed him my exhausted credit card and made my way to the security checkpoint. After spending eight hours on standby at two different bars for three different flights in an airport fifteen minutes from my house I finally made it on the last flight available and was air-bound to DC at eleven that night. The flight was a dream-like blink for my boozed-up body and finally seeing Keats’ face through the darkened window of her boyfriend’s Audi pulled a smile across my face, dry and tired with travel. I didn’t yet know it, but the events of this weekend would seal a fate I had long awaited, and another I secretly feared.

The excitement of my arrival rinsed the exhaustion from my body almost immediately as Keats and I made our way from BWI to Columbia Heights to meet Faye and the poet. As we walked up to the bar in the chilly October night, I saw him standing there smoking a cigarette in his lanky graces and I rushed to throw myself around him and kiss him as I promised him I would. His shy steel eyes illuminated as he saw the face that had been missing for weeks and he kissed me hard and soft again with a furtive smile curling up towards those cloudy eyes. From this moment on, the weekend was a blur of blissful sloppiness. We spent the large majority of our time together, getting drunk each night and awakening lazy with skin against skin as the sun poured morning in his bed each day. The whirlwind of parties, boozing, and staying under covers through the late afternoon took us through the days too quickly and by the time Sunday rolled around I already began to feel the familiar sinking in my chest that I would again have to leave this life to which I knew I belonged and return to the life that every piece of me was fighting.

This weekend was a little different than most as my return flight to Charlotte was to leave at five a.m. on Monday morning from Baltimore from which I was to go home, shower, and go directly to work. A part of me knew I would never make it to work that Monday morning when I booked the ticket, but as I have about as much sensibility as I have self-control, I took my chances. As the raucous Sunday night at the bar twisted its way back to his house we tipped up bottles of bourbon to our swooning faces with surreptitious glances and playful laughter. And as that night wore into early morning and the hour I needed to be en route to the airport approached, the poet and I lay in that same bed of his and I whispered to him that I didn’t want to go. And then it happened: the ever irresponsible Keats called me and told me she didn’t have her car and that she would have to take a cab to pick up the car before she could drive me. We would never make it. It was all I needed and in that moment my mind was made up. Even though not ten minutes later one of the poet’s closest friends offered me a randomly rare three a.m. ride to Baltimore there was no turning back in me and I curled up closer to him, pressing my body to his, and stated in defiant surrender that I wouldn’t be going anywhere. A look of panic flashed through his eyes like a confession but in moments his arms were wrapped around me and his chorus of snores told me he was sleeping like stones. I laid there with eyes open as panic began to boil inside of me, shallowing each breath. I could have possibly just made the most irresponsible decision of my life. Halfway through the semester of writing classes and weeks before I was supposed to apply to grad schools I was throwing away my finance career with no job and no money and no plans and seventy-five grand in debt. Only the knowledge that the life I was leading in Charlotte was slowly suffocating me kept me together that night. I had wanted to get the fuck out of where I was before it swallowed and changed me for so long and now, after everything, something in this poet finally gave me the courage to do so. I needed to do this, it had to happen and there could be no point in fighting it any longer. Settling into the decision I made, I lay back down and slithered carefully into his arms, silently thanking him for the strength that he didn’t know he had given me.

The next morning I did not bother to send an email attempting to save my career. The decision had already been made and it settled firmer and more comfortably within me with each passing minute like a fast friend. The poet and I spent another morning quietly lazy in a bed scattered with kisses and as he got up to shower and run errands before work I stayed naked, wrapped in his blankets, and let the weight of my eyelids lead me back to a contented slumber. Upon awakening I bought a ticket on the six p.m. Amtrak back to Charlotte comfortably wrapped in the knowledge that I was driving back up the following weekend for Halloween and possibly never finding my way back to the place in which the last four dead years lived again. That Tuesday, upon returning to work I put in my notice. I threw away half my shit, packed everything I could into my Jeep, and by the 10th of November, Charlotte was just a city to remain in my rearview mirror.

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